When We Are
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Saxophonist, composer and bandleader Nubya Garcia is back with the eagerly awaited next chapter to her musical unfolding, When We Are. Enabled with the support of the prestigious Steve Reid Foundation’s InNOVAtion award, and with Eglo records co-founder Sam Shepherd (Floating Points) as her mentor, this self-released EP features two newly recorded compositions from the much-lauded artist. The record also comes with B-side remixes from two generations of London’s finest producers, K-15 and Maxwell Owin. Following on from her scorching sophomore release, Nubya’s 5ive (jazz:refreshed), When We Are sees the trailblazing player take typically self assured steps into new territory with electronic experimentation.
“I’ve been inspired a lot by the producers around me at the moment, people like Ben Hayes, Tom Misch, Joe Armon- Jones, Jake Long and Maxwell Owin”, said Garcia. “There’s an electronic vibe in there that I wanted to explore more, and this release feels like a positive evolution from the last EP.” Much like the celebrated Brownswood release, We Out Here, where Garcia features on five of the nine tracks, When We Are offers a snapshot of the artist she is today and the organic musical languages she continues to form with her long term collaborators Femi Koleoso, Joe Armon-Jones and Daniel Casimir.
The title track opens with the easy cascading of Armon-Jones on keys, Garcia’s signature erudite tone dancing against the drummer Koleoso’s boxy, afro-tinged hip hop runs; all three riding on Casimir’s beautifully subtle, abetting bass. Crisp and clean, the track’s sweet inflections are carried into spacious territory by light touch pedal effects. Source comprises of shape-shifting, Tetris-like grooves. It’s a characteristically sophisticated sound from the band, where each player is able to shine around the trademark fusion of gospel, soul, broken beat, Afro-Caribbean and Latin styles that Garcia has deftly crafted into her own. Alongside her releases, Garcia’s reputation as a DJ is burgeoning, bolstered by her hit radio residencies on platforms including Balamii and NTS, and a growing number of live sets across Europe. The record partly draws on the energy of the club-nights that shaped her formative years. The grime and garage nights in north London, dub nights across the river in south London, and of course, the infamous Steez performance jams that have served as a rite of passage for much of the scene.